Concern over Foyle Ferry tender delay

Concerns have been raised that the the Greencastle-Magilligan ferry service has yet to 'reach tendering stage.'

Wednesday, 16th March 2016, 11:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th March 2016, 12:49 pm
The former Foyle Ferry vessel, which has been sold.

The former operator of the service, Foyle Ferry Company, announced last year that they were to cease running the service.

In February, it was confirmed that Donegal County Council and Causeway Coast and Glens Council had finalised tender documents and the tendering process was imminent.

However, at the recent Inishowen Municipal District meeting Councillor Martin Farren said he was concerned that this process was “taking a significant period of time.”

He pointed out that this time last year, the Foyle Ferry was “up and running.”

“We’re now in the middle of March and it hasn’t even got to tendering stage,” he said.

Councillor Farren said he knew that Donegal County Council were working on the issue and that they were “waiting for things to be tied up with Causeway Coast & Glens Council.”

He added: “If the tendering process is three weeks and say if the successful applicant turn-around is three weeks, then we are already into April. Councillor Bernard McGuinness has also raised concerns about this and it’s really important we get this up and running as quickly as possible.”

Councillor Farren said they had already lost out on possible St Patrick’s Day passengers. He told how the Greencastle Maritime Museum had been contacted by people enquiring if and when the service will start.

“No-one has any answers,” he said.

“I am very, very disappointed it has taken this length of time.”

Councillor Farren proposed that all of Inishowen’s councillors meet for a workshop on the issue if “things don’t get moving by next week.”

He said: “The ferry is so important to tourism in Inishowen and it’s be terrible if we couldn’t get it up ans running as quickly as possible.”

Earlier this week, a spokesperson for Donegal County Council told the ‘Journal’ it is currently working with the Causeway Coast & Glens Council to “finalise tender documents and hope to advertise this contract in the near future.”

Causeway Coast & Glens Council said the tender has “not gone out yet, but it is anticipated that it will be advertised shortly.”

They added: “At this stage, the contents are commercially sensitive.”